Then & Now - September 2021

Then & Now - September 2021


Development of South Pars gas field in the Persian Gulf off Iran will begin soon under an agreement between National Iranian Oil Co. and Italy’s Saipem and Technologic Progetti Lavori SpA. South Pars is an apparent extension of Qatar’s 150 tcf North field and has estimated reserves of 100 tcf of gas and 2.5-3 billion bbl of oil.

Hurricane Andrew struck South Florida Aug. 24, churned west into the Gulf, then swung north and hit the South Louisiana coast Aug. 25. By the close of business Sept. 8, MMS had received damage reports covering 83 pipeline segments and 193 platforms and satellite installations. An MMS official in New Orleans reported that any further damage discovered likely will be by underwater inspections.

Conoco Inc. is drilling one of the deepest rank wildcats ever in the southern Illinois basin. The Turner No.1 is being drilled near the town of Livermore in McLean County, Kentucky, to 14,800 ft to test Precambrian/Cambrian carbonates. (Don’t disturb the “moonshiners”!)

Natural gas: $1.89/Mcf

U.S. active rig count: 345


Addressed in the context of coalbed methane wells, an EPA draft report states that the threat to public health from hydraulic fracturing appears to be low, but “it may be feasible and prudent of industry to remove any threat whatsoever from injection of fluids. The use of diesel fuel in fracturing fluids by some companies introduces the majority of constituents’ concerns over underground water contamination,” the EPA noted.

The parlor game of the moment is: What shape will the speculated US-led campaign to oust Saddam Hussein take, which in turn presages the shape of oil markets to come? That game is all but overshadowing the old standby: Will the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries boost production or not?

A private Houston operator said an oil play it’s pursuing in perhaps the least explored Gulf Coast basin has the potential for large areal extent. The operator reported that the discovery well has produced 268,000 bbl of sweet, 42-degree gravity oil since the discovery well went into production in March 2002. The well is one of eight planned wells. The field is in the Maverick or McKnight basin in Maverick County, 30 miles east-southeast of Eagle Pass, Texas.

Light sweet crude: $28.66/bbl

Natural gas: $3.23/MMbtu

U.S. active rig count: 1,216


Regulations imposed for bad reasons to implement bad law can’t lead anywhere good. And nowhere good is precisely where the US Environmental Protection Agency has steered the wayward Renewable Fuel Standard by increasing the requirement for biodiesel. The RFS program soon will require more of one gasoline additive than the gasoline market can absorb, and already mandates more of another additive than exists. The prudent course for the EPA would be to minimize damage until Congress faces up to its mistakes with ethanol.

It’s not unrealistic to expect abundant oil and gas resources to help make North America energy-independent within a decade, witnesses told a US House Energy and Commerce subcommittee. “The United States has become the world’s second-largest oil producer,” said Harold G. Hamm, chief executive of Continental Resources Inc. in Enid, Oklahoma. “We just passed Russia and are behind only Saudi Arabia. I don’t think a lot of people realize this.”

Shell Offshore Co. reports that it is limiting its Chukchi Sea activity after its Arctic spill containment dome was damaged during a final test. “We are disappointed that the dome has not yet met our stringent acceptance standards, but, as we have said all along, we will not conduct any operation until we are satisfied that we are fully prepared to do it safely,”

the company said. Shell has experienced several struggles of late, including its drill ship breaking anchor and nearly running aground while still in harbor, and having to pull out and run from a 30-mile-wide iceberg.

Light sweet crude: $96.00/bbl

Natural gas: $2.90/MMbtu


This month, we continue our look back at the era of “The Texans,” as the President and First Lady receive a guided tour of Connally’s digs, while the receiving line begins queueing up.

The Nixons seemed content in Connally’s shadow as he proudly showed them about the house of Lueders stone, pointing out the bits of Georgian and French Provincial architecture incorporated in the ranch style so dear to the President. Connally took obvious delight in calling attention to the marble mantel, the black Brazilian granite floors, the stair railing of antique brass, an Oriental chandelier bought in New Orleans, the massive hand-carved teakwood doors, and an entire marble floor imported from an 18th-century London mansion. All around were flower arrangements containing Texas wildflowers hand-picked by Nellie Connally herself, including bluebonnets, Indian pinks, firewheels and daisies.

The receiving line took shape with no apparent effort. The faces of most of the guests would have been unknown to the average Texan, for they performed their tasks in the boardrooms and clubs and office suites of the cities. They preferred the irrefutable worth of ancient Oriental screens and vases, or paintings by Monet, Picasso and Braque. For the most part, the men remained out of the public view and, in Texas, mercifully free of undue scrutiny by the press.

Their power was a natural accrual through interlocking directorships of the largest banks, corporations and law firms, involving contacts established and cultivated for years. Their bonds were based upon friendship or mutual need or money, or as was usually the case, friendship and mutual need and money. They weren’t lobbyists – they hired others to handle those aspects of political persuasion – and invited the best lobbyists to their parties. Nor were they politicians in the mundane sense of those who simply run for public office. Yet they exercised a unified power in the state unparalleled in America.

Next month, we meet two of the guests from the Brown and Hunt families.


What was the earliest acid corrosion inhibitor used for treating limestone formations with hydrochloric acid?

If you would like to participate in this month’s quiz, e-mail your answer to by noon, May 15. The winner, who will be chosen randomly from all correct answers, will receive a $50 gift card to a nice restaurant (courtesy of the ProTechnics Division of Core Laboratories).


Venezuela’s first commercial oil well was the Zumaque No.1 located at Mene Grande, which became commercial in 1914.


There was no winner this month.